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Manifestations of God--a Question for Bahai's

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by FerventGodSeeker, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    Well it's kinda both, since I initially asked about Manifestations of God in Baha'i, some of which I believe as a Christian were real people as well, and thus we were discussing our different perspectives on these people.

    Booko seems to believe that Christ was physically resurrected; however thank you for pointing out that it's not a teaching promoted by Baha'i (which is what I have been trying to say to Booko), but it does at least seem possible for a Baha'i to believe in it if they wish.

    I'm probably just a troublemaker who doesn't like to play by the rules, but it seems like more of a nuisance and a technicality to "move threads." The same people who were discussing it are still going to keep discussing it, no matter where we put it, lol. Booko suggested that we might want to make another thread since we started talking about the Resurrection of Christ, but as the starter of the thread I said that it was OK with me if we kept the conversation here (considering that we'll most likely be off on some other rabbit trail soon enough anyways, lol). If you really have a problem with this being discussed in this forum, then I won't complain about moving it, but I'm also perfectly fine with leaving it here (C'mon, let's be rebels! :D )

    FGS
     
  2. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    :yes: Fervant:

    One reason I think these forums are set up the way they are is so that people can explore the various faiths on their own and if they choose to reject them or debate them there places for that. "rules is rules"

    This is as succinct a statement on resurrection from the Writings as I've been able to find:
    The resurrections of the Divine Manifestations are not of the body. All their states, their conditions, their acts, the things they have established, their teachings, their their expressions, their parables, and their instructions have a spiritual and divine signification, and have no connection with material things. (Some Answered Questions, old ed., p.119)

    _____________________


     
  3. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    Yeah, yeah, yeah....whatever, Dad:p


    Thanks for the quote, it does seem to be quite straightforward. However, I'm intrigued that it says, "resurrections of the Divine Manifestations." I thought we were talking specifically about Jesus here; is it a belief in Baha'i that all the Manifestaitons have risen from the grave? I've never heard any stories about any of the Divine Manifestations in Baha'i having risen from the grave other than Christ. Did Buddha, Muhammad, Baha'u'llah ever rise from the grave?

    FGS
     
  4. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Well my "son":D Baha'is believe all the Manifestations of God are "resurrections" of the same pure teachings and spiritual power from age to age...

    For example, from the inception of the mission of Jesus - may peace be upon Him - till the day of His ascension was the resurrection of Moses. For during that period the Revelation of God shown forth through the appearance word punished by His word everyone who did not believe; inasmuch as God's testimony for that Day was that which He solemnly affirmed in the Gospel.

    - Selections From the Writings of the Bab, passage on pp.106-8

    Also:

    Concerning the meaning of `Resurrection': although the term is used by Bahá'u'lláh in His Writings,... its meaning is figurative. The tomb is also allegorical, i.e., the tomb of unbelief.

    - Shoghi Effendi in Dawn of a New Day: Messages to India, p.79

    :rainbow1:
     
  5. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    O i see, interesting. Except that Christ was resurrected after only three days; it didn't take Him 600 years until Muhammad came along; yet you still take His resurrection as purely "spiritual"...

    FGS
     
  6. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Well-Known Member

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    Hi again!



    What you overlook is that Christ Himself stressed "the flesh profits nothing!" and that it's the SPIRITUAL that matters!

    Resurrection is a spiritual process because things physical simply don't matter in the long run! Jesus implied this when He said "Let the dead buy the dead!" clearly meaning spiritually dead, not physically.

    Each later Divine Messenger is indeed the reappearance of earlier ones, so in that sense both Muhammad and Baha'u'llah qualify as returns of the Christ Spirit. And as to the three-day thing, the Baha'i scriptures explain it thus:

     
  7. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Well-Known Member

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    Hi again, FGS!

    To continue, there are these, also from the Baha'i scriptures:


    [W]hosoever partook of the cup of love, obtained his
    portion of the ocean of eternal grace and of the
    showers of everlasting mercy, and entered into the
    life of faith - the heavenly and everlasting life.
    But he that turned away from that cup was condemned
    to eternal death. By the terms "life" and "death,"
    spoken of in the scriptures, is intended the life of
    faith and the death of unbelief. The generality of
    the people, owing to their failure to grasp the
    meaning of these words, rejected and despised the
    person of the Manifestation, deprived themselves of
    the light of His divine guidance, and refused to
    follow the example of that immortal Beauty.
    (The Book of Certitude, page 114)


    y "resurrection" is meant His own rise to
    proclaim the Cause of God.
    (Ibid., page 116)


    Such things have come to pass in the days of every
    Manifestation of God. Even as Jesus said: "Ye must
    be born again."(1) Again He saith: "Except a man
    be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter
    into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the
    flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit
    is spirit."(2) The purport of these words is that
    whosoever in every dispensation is born of the
    Spirit and is quickened by the breath of the
    Manifestation of Holiness, he verily is of those
    that have attained unto "life" and "resurrection"
    and have entered into the "paradise" of the love of
    God. And whosoever is not of them, is condemned to
    "death" and "deprivation," to the "fire" of
    unbelief, and to the "wrath" of God. In all the
    scriptures, the books and chronicles, the sentence
    of death, of fire, of blindness, of want of
    understanding and hearing, hath been pronounced
    against those whose lips have tasted not the
    ethereal cup of true knowledge, and whose hearts
    have been deprived of the grace of the holy Spirit
    in their day. Even as it hath been previously
    recorded: "Hearts have they with which they
    understand not."(1) In another passage of the Gospel
    it is written: "And it came to pass that on a
    certain day the father of one of the disciples of
    Jesus had died. That disciple reporting the death
    of his father unto Jesus, asked for leave to go and
    bury him. Whereupon, Jesus, that Essence of
    Detachment, answered and said: "Let the dead bury
    their dead."(2) In like manner, two of the people of
    Kufih went to Ali, the Commander of the Faithful.
    One owned a house and wished to sell it; the other
    was to be the purchaser. They had agreed that this
    transaction should be effected and the contract be
    written with the knowledge of Ali. He, the exponent
    of the law of God, addressing the scribe, said:
    "Write thou: `A dead man hath bought from another
    dead man a house. That house is bounded by four
    limits. One extendeth toward the tomb, the other to
    the vault of the grave, the third to the Sirat, the
    fourth to either Paradise or hell.'" Reflect, had
    these two souls been quickened by the trumpet-call
    of Ali, had they risen from the grave of error by
    the power of his love, the judgment of death would
    certainly not have been pronounced against them. In
    every age and century, the purpose of the Prophets
    of God and their chosen ones hath been no other but
    to affirm the spiritual significance of the terms
    "life," "resurrection," and "judgment." If one will
    ponder but for a while this utterance of Ali in his
    heart, one will surely discover all mysteries hidden
    in the terms "grave," "tomb," "sirat," "paradise"
    and "hell." But oh! how strange and pitiful!
    Behold, all the people are imprisoned within the
    tomb of self, and lie buried beneath the nethermost
    depths of worldly desire! Wert thou to attain to
    but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine
    knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true
    life is not the life of the flesh but the life of
    the spirit. For the life of the flesh is common to
    both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit
    is possessed only by the pure in heart who have
    quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the
    fruit of certitude. This life knoweth no death, and
    this existence is crowned by immortality. Even as
    it hath been said: "He who is a true believer
    liveth both in this world and in the world to come."
    If by "life" be meant this earthly life, it is
    evident that death must needs overtake it.
    (Ibid., pages 118-121)


    [T]he other lofty names and exalted attributes of
    God. Therefore, whosoever, and in whatever
    Dispensation, hath recognized and attained unto the
    presence of these glorious, these resplendent and
    most excellent Luminaries, hath verily attained unto
    the "Presence of God" Himself, and entered the city
    of eternal and immortal life. Attainment unto such
    presence is possible only in the Day of Resurrec-
    tion, which is the Day of the rise of God Himself
    through His all-embracing Revelation.
    This is the meaning of the "Day of Resurrection,"
    spoken of in all the scriptures, and announced unto
    all people. Reflect, can a more precious, a
    mightier, and more glorious day than this be
    conceived, so that man should willingly forego its
    grace, and deprive himself of its bounties, which
    like unto vernal showers are raining from the heaven
    of mercy upon all mankind? Having thus conclusively
    demonstrated that no day is greater than this Day,
    and no revelation more glorious than this
    Revelation, and having set forth all these weighty
    and infallible proofs which no understanding mind
    can question, and no man of learning overlook, how
    can man possibly, through the idle contention of the
    people of doubt and fancy, deprive himself of such a
    bountiful grace? Have they not heard the well-known
    tradition: "When the Qa'im riseth, that day is the
    Day of Resurrection?" In like manner, the Imams,
    those unquenchable lights of divine guidance, have
    interpreted the verse: "What can such expect but
    that God should come down to them overshadowed with
    clouds,"(1) - a sign which they have unquestionably
    regarded as one of the features of the Day of
    Resurrection - as referring to Qa'im and His
    manifestation.
    (Ibid., pages 143-144)

    (I'll head to yet another message.)



    Best,


    Bruce
     
  8. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Well-Known Member

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    Hi, again; here's the finish, still from the Baha'i scriptures!

    Strive therefore to comprehend the meaning of
    "return" which hath been so explicitly revealed in
    the Qur'an itself, and which none hath as yet
    understood. What sayest thou? If thou sayest that
    Muhammad was the "return" of the Prophets of old, as
    is witnessed by this verse, His Companions must
    likewise be the "return" of the bygone Companions,
    even as the "return" of the former people is clearly
    attested by the text of the above-mentioned verses.
    And if thou deniest this, thou hast surely
    repudiated the truth of the Qur'an, the surest
    testimony of God unto men. In like manner,
    endeavour to grasp the significance of "return,"
    "revelation," and "resurrection," as witnessed in
    the days of the Manifestations of the divine
    Essence, that thou mayest behold with thine own eyes
    the "return" of the holy souls into sanctified and
    illumined bodies, and mayest wash away the dust of
    ignorance, and cleanse the darkened self with the
    waters of mercy flowing from the Source of divine
    Knowledge; that perchance thou mayest, through the
    power of God and the light of divine guidance,
    distinguish the Morn of everlasting splendour from
    the darksome night of error.
    (The Book of Certitude, pages 151-152)


    O brother, behold how the inner mysteries of
    "rebirth," of "return," and of "resurrection" have
    each, through these all-sufficing, these
    unanswerable, and conclusive utterances, been
    unveiled and unravelled before thine eyes. God
    grant that through His gracious and invisible
    assistance, thou mayest divest thy body and soul of
    the old garment, and array thyself with the new and
    imperishable attire.
    Therefore, those who in every subsequent
    Dispensation preceded the rest of mankind in
    embracing the Faith of God, who quaffed the clear
    waters of knowledge at the hand of the divine
    Beauty, and attained the loftiest summits of faith
    and certitude, these can be regarded, in name, in
    reality, in deeds, in words, and in rank, as the
    "return" of those who in a former Dispensation had
    achieved similar distinctions. For whatsoever the
    people of a former Dispensation have manifested, the
    same hath been shown by the people of this latter
    generation. Consider the rose: whether it
    blossometh in the East or in the West, it is none
    the less a rose. For what mattereth in this respect
    is not the outward shape and form of the rose, but
    rather the smell and fragrance which it doth impart.
    (Ibid., pages 158-159)


    It hath been demonstrated and definitely
    established, through clear evidences, that by
    "Resurrection" is meant the rise of the
    Manifestation of God to proclaim His Cause
    (Ibid., page 170)


    At that hour will the mystic Herald, bearing the
    joyful tidings of the Spirit, shine forth from the
    City of God resplendent as the morn, and, through
    the trumpet-blast of knowledge, will awaken the
    heart, the soul, and the spirit from the slumber of
    negligence.
    (Ibid., page 196)


    Peace,


    Bruce
     
  9. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Wow...Bruce those are some great quotes! I think it was also Mirza Abul-Fadl who indicated the three days of resurrection were the manifestations of Prophet Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'u'llah. The three day timeline when taken literally is at best problematic according to many.

    - Art
     
  10. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    So then I guess you don't believe that Christ literally died either, or that it was necessary for Him to actually die? Booko doesn't seem to agree. I do not overlook Christ's words about the importance of spirituality, but I do maintain balance between the physical and spiritual; Christ literally, physically fulfilled a number of prophecies.


    Actually, in that instance, He was speaking to a person whose father had actually died ;) ...he wanted to go to the funeral before following Jesus on His journeys.
    In regards to the resurrection, if you claim it was only spiritual, you completely ignore the appearances of Christ to His disciples after His resurrection. He truly, physically appeared to them after His death and resurrection:
    "Behold My (Jesus') hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." Luke 24:39


    CHAPTER 23: THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

    No connection at all? So then I guess we should just live our physical lives however we see fit, because all the practical teachings of Christ for everyday life are only "spiritual." ;)

    Yes, Christ had/has the ability to exist in more than one place at one time...thus furthering the evidence for the Christian notion that Christ is God.


    He was literally, physically born, was He not?

    Except again, He was literally born; why would we not equally say that He literally died and rose again?

    So what?
    It's called a miracle...it doesn't have to fit with known science.



    FGS
     
  11. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    So is the existence of God, to a lot of people; why would that stop you from believing in a literal God?

    FGS
     
  12. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Hi FGS: Sorry I had to bow out of this thread temporarily. It will take a little time to catch up, but let me start here and work backwards with whatever hasn't been addressed yet.

    It's one heck of a leap to assume that if a resurrection was mainly of spiritual importance, there was no physical death. Christ obviously was Crucified, and our Writings refer to this specifically:

    "Ponder on this story that you may understand the mystic power of sacrifice, of faithfulness, how these martyrs were stirred with the good news of the new dawn.

    Let us make a comparison with the days of Christ. He had eleven disciples only, for the twelfth was the cause of his crucifixion. The leader of the apostles was Peter and on the night of the crucifixion his faith was shaken and he thrice denied Christ, through afterwards he became firm.

    All were shaken but Mary Magdalen. She was a veritable lioness. She gathered the others together and said, "Why do ye mourn? Did not the Christ foretell his crucifixion? Arise, and be assured. They have killed but the body; the reality can never die, for it is supreme, eternal, the word of God, the son of God. Why, therefore, are ye agitated?" Thus this heroine became the cause of re-establishing the faith of the apostles."

    (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 49)

    Goodness, we don't say He didn't literally die. Whether He literally resurrected is something no one here can say for sure, since we were not there. There is certainly the metaphorical resurrection, whether there is a physical one or not. If there were no Resurrection, you would not be here typing as a Christian!

    Actually it does. God sets up his laws and sees no need of breaking them. Now, as to what is miraculous, something may indeed seem to break physical laws, but it may be that we just don't know enough about physical laws.
     
  13. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Do you know what Writings Mirza Abul-Fadl based that on?

    I'm only acquainted with Abdu'l-Baha's explanation of the metaphorical significance, which has already been posted here.
     
  14. shema

    shema Active Member

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    Well to me, there are manifestations of God's Blessings on this earth, like our prayers getting answered. or God divinely changing the course of our current situations
     
  15. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Shema ...

    Thanks for posting here!

    Yes we Baha'is believe also in God's blessings and that our prayers are answered and that God is able to alter situations:

    "Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God ... To a supreme degree is this true of man, who, among all created things, ... hath been singled out for the glory of such distinction. For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no other created being hath excelled or surpassed.... And of all men, the most accomplished, the most distinguished, and the most excellent are the Manifestations of the Sun of Truth. Nay, all else besides these Manifestations, live by the operation of their Will, and move and have their being through the outpourings of their grace."

    ~ Baha'u'llah in Gleanings, pp. 177-79.




    When we read about the "Manifestations of Truth" above, we believe this refers to Messengers and Prophets of God Who brought new dispensations at crucial times in the progress of humanity such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus and in this day Baha'u'llah.

    We call them Manifestations of God because we accept that God is "manifest" in Them just as the Sun is manifest to us in a perfect Mirror. We see the Sun reflected in it's power and light in the Mirror. The Sun itself does not descend to the Mirror or to the earth as it would melt and vaporize us, the mirror and the earth. But we say yes the attributes of the Sun is reflected or manifest in the mirror...just as an astronomer will behold the image of the Sun in a reflector telescope.
    - Art
    :beach:
     
  16. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  17. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Hello Booko!

    Sorry I may have caused some confusion...

    I was thinking of the "The Baha'i Proofs" by Mirza Abul-Fadl on pp. 126 - 129 where he mentions three Days of God referring to Prophet Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'u'llah.

    He also shows in Miracles and Metaphors p. 69 how Christ referring to the spirit of Elijah in John the Baptist even though when we know Elijah lived centuries before is similar to the Return of "Christ" in future Manifestations like Prophet Muhammad and so on..

    - Art
     
  18. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    All His disciples who were there at His death attested to the fact that He also rose again and directly, literally appeared to them.

    Comment:

    I think there were reported appearances of Christ that could be explained by visionary experiences of the disciples ... Compare these with the Transfiguration where Moses and Elijah "appeared" before John, Peter and James in Luke 9:28-36 and Peter wanted to build tabernacles for each of them and for Jesus. Are we suggesteing that Moses and Elijah were physically resurrected here... I haven't heard anyone maintain that.

    Baha'is maintain that the resurrection of Jesus was spiritual not physical and I think this has been clearly stated...so arguments about this probably belong elsewhere in a debate forum.

    - Art
     
  19. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    Not by a long shot. Note what Christ says to them when He appears to His disciples after His resurrection:

    "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." Luke 24:39
     
  20. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Fervent,

    I think I understand what you are trying to say...It is a traditional view of the resurrection which we as Baha'is do not share with you. Visions can be very real to people and you can hear a lot of things in visions...no one I think will dispute that. Also there are meanings and significances in spiritual experiences that are symbolic that is how we see it. If you disagree that's your choice.

    - Art
     
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